a talk by John Kamm, of the Dui Hua Froundation, "Human Rights: What Role in US-China Relations?"
DATE: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
TIME: 6:30-8:00 pm
FREE and open to the public.
PARKING: $3 at the University Place Hotel parking lot
About the Talk:
"Although the issue of human rights does not occupy the central role it played in US-China relations during the 10-year debate on China's trade status that ended with China's entry into the WTO in 2001, it is still a critically important issue in the relationship. The GOP's victory in the midterm elections virtually guarantees that Congress, notably the House of Representatives, will pay more attention to human rights in China in the run-up to the 2012 elections. The foreign affairs leadership in the House is made up of representatives who opposed extending China's MFN status and who remain highly critical of China's policies towards political dissent, religious freedom and family planning, among other concerns. Cases of American businessmen of Chinese descent who find themselves on the wrong end of the Chinese legal system as well as more general concerns over censorship and corruption are having an impact on business confidence in the country. The sharp increase in the number of arrests for endangering state security and the corresponding drop in the number of early releases of political prisoners means that there are now more people in Chinese prisons for expressing their political and religious beliefs than at any time than in the immediate aftermath of Tiananmen.
Not all is bad news however. The resumption of the human rights dialogues, notably the legal experts dialogue, demonstrates that the two countries are still willing to address their differences, and an innovative approach to exchanging information and opinions on human rights issues where the two countries share much common ground -- issues like juvenile justice and women in prison -- raises the hope that the countries can in fact cooperate on human rights, and not simply talk past each other on issues where agreement is unlikely."